The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Articles Under: Catechesis and Culture

“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off” (Mt 13:24–25). Our Lord’s imagery helps us make sense of difficult and painful situations existing within the Church. He is describing, afterall, the “kingdom of God.” If I’m honest with myself, I’m aware that there are weeds also growing in my heart. St. Paul understands the dramatic situation within the Christian, lamenting that “I do not do the good I want” (Rm 7:19). This is... Read more
St. John Paul II dedicated the entire sixth chapter of his theology of the body (TOB) catechesis to reaffirming and deepening the Church’s teaching on responsible parenthood, providing his most direct and extensive application of TOB to the Church’s teachings on sexual morality. Drawing upon the teachings of Gaudium et Spes and Humanae Vitae , St. John Paul II concentrates primarily on the “essential difference” between contraception and periodic continence (in America typically called Natural Family Planning or NFP) as the basis of the ethical difference between them expressed in the teachings of the Church (TOB 122:2). St. John Paul... Read more
The Mass of St. Gregory depicts a miracle in the life of Pope St. Gregory the Great, who died in Rome on March 12 of AD 604. According to tradition, he and others experienced the appearance of Jesus as the pope celebrated a particular Mass. It is considered a eucharistic miracle because of the circumstances surrounding the event. We learn of this narrative through the stories of the saints collected and published by Jacobus de Voragine, a Dominican priest of the thirteenth century. The original title of his book was Readings from the Saints . But over time, the published... Read more
In modern culture, relativism reigns supreme. Consequently, the transcendentals of truth, goodness, and beauty no longer seem to transcend beyond the subjective whims of every autonomous individual self. Truth is a matter of one’s opinion. Goodness is relative to each person. Beauty is a matter of personal preference. Catechists and Catholic educators have been given a great opportunity to lead the young people entrusted to their care to encounter objective truth, consistent moral laws that lead to the flourishing of goodness, and to appreciate authentic beauty. Although the three transcendentals are inseparable, I would like to focus on the role... Read more
Several years ago, I was working as a parish Coordinator of Youth Ministry, and one of my responsibilities was teaching a high school religious education class. The class was arranged by the parish DRE and met as part of her programming each Wednesday night. There was no set textbook or program. We had a wide range of topics and materials available, and we were able to move as the class needed. The class was comprised of a diverse range of students with varying backgrounds and levels of catechetical formation. Mid-year, a new family moved to the parish. The parents only... Read more
“With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well” (1 Thes 2:8). I don’t remember when I first came across this Scripture verse, but I do remember multiple instances during my time serving in a suburban parish that I’d internally wrestle with its application. After a few years working for a church, I had a good system that seemed to keep pastors and church leaders satisfied: Plan an event or program, advertise the opportunity to the parish and parents, host the event. Rinse and repeat... Read more
In the United States, approximately “1,000,000 children a year experience their parents’ divorce.” [1] This is a staggering statistic, and it does not account for children whose parents are still married but separated, or who were cohabiting and have gone their separate ways. As catechists, it is certain that we will minister to people from broken families, if we have not done so already. As we encounter these people, we may find ourselves asking whether the experience of parental divorce impacts the faith of children of divorce. [2] And if so, how can we as catechists respond to their needs?... Read more
International Catechetical Study Weeks (1964–1968) We continue this series from the last issue of the Catechetical Review here in the From the Shepherds department because of its reflections on the writings of the bishops of the universal Church. The five decades between the Second Vatican Council and the publication of the third general catechetical directory in 2020 have been an extraordinarily important period in the history of modern catechetics. During this time the Church’s catechetical ministry has been afforded unprecedented support in documents of the universal Church as well as those of the bishops of the United States. This series... Read more
A frequently asked question from the young women I teach is, “Don’t you feel like it’s unfair that women can’t be priests?” As a woman working in the Church and teaching the faith, I think they expect me to feel cheated, as if my rights are being disrespected. While I have taken the time to consider the question and its implications, I would never change my answer: “Not at all!” The role I have is an absolute privilege and different roles do not mean unequal or unfair— they just mean different . My job as a Catholic middle school religion... Read more
The human heart loves mysteries. By mystery, I mean hidden knowledge that requires a sleuth to uncover the truth. We love the idea of discovering lost secrets that upend our entire understanding of our world. Think of space aliens and the secret Area 51 in New Mexico. Think of movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark where the “true purpose” of the Ark of the Covenant is revealed or National Treasure , which divulges the “real” mission behind the Knights Templar and features the discovery of an ancient, buried treasure. There are even “mysteries” about the Catholic Church found in... Read more